The folks behind Alpha Anywhere, including Alpha Software CTO Dan Bricklin, gathered a bunch of their users to focus on mobile application development and specifically on tablet applications yesterday. Many of the applications their users are building are clipboard replacement applications. That is, they are applications whose function would be done with paper forms on clipboards if tablets weren’t a better option.
If tablet applications are to be successful, “they can’t be worse in certain ways,” Bricklin pointed out, “They can’t slow the user down. They have to have some advantages, like making it easier to scan in new information, add photographs, etc.”
Frequently these apps are used to tie the data collection agents out in the field with enterprise databases on a central server. They’re about as utilitarian as a tablet app is likely to get. And yet much of the meeting was spent talking about design issues that at first mention you might think of as relatively minor. Continued »
The Yellow Pages Group (YPG) in Canada grew out of traditional print publishing. Now, they’re a major player in internet directory services across Canada. The transition wasn’t easy. It took a little luck, a lot of hard work, and the right outlook on IT.
Alain Gaeremynck is the senior enterprise architect at YPG. He said when he first started, nearly 4 years ago, the software development process showed a lot of similarities to their old print roots. The company struggled to keep up with customer demands for new search features and rich user experience. IT was seen as a cost of doing business rather than an investment or a competitive advantage. But that was soon to change. Continued »
There’s one big question at the heart of everything that good software project managers do. How do we develop software better? How do we improve the ways and means through which we develop software? In its time, the Agile Manifesto was a revelation to many developers. It formalized a school of thought about developing software in a fundamentally different and better way. Today, continuous software development seems to be building on Agile principles and pushing them forward. Quicker feedback, tighter cycles, go, go, go! Continued »
One of the main tenets of Agile development is to empower the development team to make its own choices. This is really important because it helps the developers identify with their projects in a very personal way. It gives them a motivator stronger than any benefits package. It gives them pride in their work. However, letting a dozen different teams take a dozen different approaches to development infrastructure probably isn’t the best strategy. It’s important to orchestrate efforts between teams without robbing individual teams of their autonomy.
It seems like there is a definite inverse relationship there. Program directors have to pick a point on a spectrum between letting each individual team make all their own decisions at one extreme and micromanaging every decision at the other. But this may be a false dichotomy. There may be a central infrastructure strategy that can orchestrate efforts across teams and still let individual teams of making their own choices. Let’s look at one particular organization that’s walking the tightrope between empowering teams to make their own choices and orchestrating large team efforts.
One year ago this Sunday, I predicted that the word for 2014 would be continuous – as in continuous development. I know it might be a self-fulfilling prophecy, but the word ‘continuous’ did seem to come up an awful lot in the world of software quality. I think about half of the content we put out on SearchSoftwareQuality.com in December had to do with continuous delivery and/or continuous deployment in one way or another. Keep reading for a peek at some of my favorites. Continued »
TUI Travel, based in the UK, is a broker for European vacations. I had a chance earlier in the year to speak with one of TUI Travel’s development team leads. A story on the intersection of data and database management, change management and continuous delivery is coming out soon on SearchSoftwareQuality. This article on Agile development at TUI is a bonus. Continued »
I sometimes forget how much of the software development world is outside the scope of Agile. A lot of organizations have to slog through thick sheets of bureaucracy and cut through yards or even miles of red tape to get the job done. In my less optimistic moments I’m sometimes tempted to believe the bureaucracy is there to prevent innovation. Last month at the DevOps Enterprise Summit I was given a reminder of just how far that is from the truth. Mark Schwartz closed out the first day of the conference with a session about how DevOps can help fix the bureaucracy in the federal government. And his solution isn’t to get rid of the oversight and the governance, but to find lean ways to make bureaucracy work for innovation. Continued »
I always enjoy going to Agile conferences, big and small, but this year Agile2014 was especially rewarding. I learned so much and got to spend (not nearly enough) time with some old friends while meeting more than a few new ones. I’d like to take the time to thank a few of these new friends for really making this past conference stand out in my mind.
This is an exciting event for me and it’s right in my own back yard (Hyperbolically speaking, of course). We’ve got Agile software development practices, talented software project leaders, and we get to play games! What could be better? Continued »
Today’s keynote was just as good as yesterday’s. It really made me think about what the future of Agile is now that it’s basically mainstream. Jeff Dalton, the keynote presenter, pointed out that very large organizations are beginning to muscle in on Agile. If the software quality community doesn’t take planned steps to keep Agile flexible, a risk exists that Agile processes will turn into rituals carried out by rote in large development corporations. Continued »